Monday, August 22, 2005

The Change of Seasons

Tomorrow DS#2 starts at our local high school. The day after DD#2 starts 7th Grade at our parochial school. The oldest two have been back to college for a week, although they still have some fine tuning to do on their schedules.

I don't care what the calendar says: summer is officially over.

The readings yesterday dealt with the transfer of authority--from Shebna to Eliakim, from Christ to Peter. This week I will transfer my parental authority, temporarily, from myself to the teachers and school administration. Hundreds of others will join me. I met some of them yesterday as we bought new backpacks and binders and completed school supply lists. But before we joined that crowd, we visited my uncle who has just been moved to an assisted living facility.

The baseball game was on and, fortunately, the hometeam won. We--my mother, DD#2, and DS#2, and I--watched with him and talked about the upcoming college football season. We avoided any mention of why he was there and not in the home he bought almost 60 years ago.

He did ask if we had seen his car. The DMV has taken away his license officially, although the family has unofficially been limiting his driving for the last several years. "I think one of my daughters has it," he said, but he wasn't sure which one.

"That's okay," my mother reassured him, patting him on the knee. "I don't drive either." But she gave up her license voluntarily.

Later, while we were waiting for my mother to come out of the restroom, I looked at my two youngest.

"Get used to this," I said. "You'll be doing a lot of visiting like this for the next several years."

DS#2 was eight when his great-grandmother died. He has hazy memories of visiting her at her senior apartment, then at the assisted facility, finally at a nursing home. Now it's his great-uncle. DD#2 has vague memories only of the nursing home.

As I drove my mother back to her home, the one she bought 50 years ago with my father, we talked about how she could get there on the bus and what we could bring to share with him, that he might still enjoy. "We should time our visits with a ball game," I joked. She smiled.

Later this week, while I attend Welcome Back-to-School functions, she will visit her second bestfriend who is in a nursing home dying of cancer. That friend's husband is also in an assisted living facility. "If I send a card," I said, "will he know who I am?"

"No," my mother admitted. "But his boys will."

In his sermon yesterday, Fr. Paul pointed out that Simon Peter was probably the least likely of the apostles to be chosen as leader. But Jesus Christ, for His own reasons, chose him to be the foundation of the Church. Ready or not, I see the keys being passed to my generation, the robe and the sash. And I am glad God is there...